Columbia River fall chinook forecasts come to light and look much better than the 2019 return Leave a reply

Feb 21, 2020 by Mark Yuasa

While the Columbia River coho struggle it appears the preliminary chinook returns will be much improved over the 2019 forecast and actual return.

In all, 431,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Big-C compared to a forecast in 2019 of 340,400 and an actual return of 375,700.

The lower river hatchery is about 60 percent of the 10-year average; lower river wild is 117 percent; lower river bright is about 170 percent; Bonneville Pool hatchery is about 60 percent; upriver bright is 55 percent; pool upriver bright is about 80 percent; and select area bright is 17 percent.

A breakdown of lower river hatchery chinook is 51,000 (54,500 forecast in 2019 and 48,900 was the actual return); lower river wild is 19,700 (13,700 and 16,700); lower river bright is 7,000 (8,000 and 9,900); and Bonneville Pool hatchery is 46,200 (46,000 and 29,000).

The meat and potatoes are the upriver bright chinook of 233,400 (158,400 and 212,200). The pool upriver bright forecast is 71,800 (56,700 and 58,100); and select area bright forecast is 1,000 (3,100 and 900).

It paints a much brighter picture than 268,700 coho expected to arrive off the Washington-Oregon coast, compared to a preseason forecast of 1,009,600 last year and an actual return of 408,100 (forecast in 2018 was 349,000 and an actual larger return of 230,700).

Summer and fall salmon forecasts including the Puget Sound/Strait of Juan de Fuca region will be unveiled by WDFW from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday, February 28 in DSHS Building Auditorium, 1115 Washington Street S.E., in Olympia.

A draft of the three ocean salmon fishing options will be known at Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings March 3-9 in Rohnert Park, CA.

Other public meetings include the North of Falcon meeting at Lacey Community Center, March 16; North of Falcon meeting in Sequim, March 19; Pacific Fishery Management Council hearing at Westport, March 23; North of Falcon meeting at WDFW Mill Creek office, March 26; and North of Falcon meeting at Lynnwood Embassy Suites, 20610 44th Avenue West, March 30.

Final seasons will be announced April 5-11 at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in Vancouver, WA. For specific meeting agendas and times, go to

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